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John Achterberg
Gender Male
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Job xxxx Football Coach
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Org xxxx National Team
Club as Coach Liverpool [Goalkeeper Coach]

2019 05 27 Retrieve

[John Achterberg claims Alisson Becker has enjoyed a stunning debut campaign at Liverpool] When you come new into the Premier League, you always need time to settle in, but he picked it up quickly. There were a couple of areas where he needed to adapt, but everything else was automatic. We worked in training on the things that could happen in terms of aggression, players trying to block and things like that, so I think he was well prepared. If you have a season like he’s just had - and we still have one game to go - it’ll be hard to beat. 21 league clean sheets! He had a great season and his level was probably one of the best in the world, so we cannot complain. In the Champions League, he made some massive saves for us - the Napoli save for us to get qualification for the next stage - and then in the Barca game, you cannot make any errors and he made some match-winning saves to get us the clean sheet we needed. Hopefully next year we can improve even further; there are always small things we can be better on. We’ve spoken to Ali about them and hopefully he can improve even further for next season. Our aim is to do it again.

He is really calm under pressure and makes good decisions. The calmness he gives to the team, the decision-making, that is vital for any goalkeeper. He is always able to make a match-winning save and make the team steady in front of him, knowing if anything goes wrong he will be there. You have to be in every moment 100 per cent focused and make the right decisions - that’s what he has been doing consistently for most of the season. That’s the level he produced - and now we need to try to make that even better

[Alisson conceded just 22 goals across 38 appearances in the 2018-19 Premier League season, with his performances ensuring that back-up keeper Simon Mignolet barely got a look in] Simon has been for a long period a No.1 goalkeeper, so it’s not an easy situation for him. You always want to play; you always have to find the motivation and drive to keep going and wait for the moment you’re needed. He has been unbelievable in that way. He has been training day in, day out to the highest level, in the gym doing everything perfectly - the perfect lifestyle and perfect professional. He has given a good example to all the young ‘keepers at the club and it’s really important he is part of the team as well. Si has a good level, of course, and I can be only positive about him

2019 06 02 Retrieve

[Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg says the club have reaped the benefits from their massive investment in Alisson Becker] It is unbelievable the way he stayed calm in the difficult situations and the saves he makes, he takes the team through the pressure moments. He’s done it in a few games: Napoli to get to the knockout round, Barcelona to get to the final. What can you say? Decision-making you cannot train, you train and try to prepare but what he does is so unbelievable in his first year in the UK. Also staying calm under high pressure is not teachable, it is natural. In training, you can prepare what’s going to happen in a game and situations you can train but decision-making, when to come, when to stay, when to be calm and when to play, he showed that’s all him. We bought an expensive goalie but he paid it back with the trophy, he had a big hand in it anyway.

There are always things he can improve but the level he has produced this season is probably one of the best in the world. He showed it. He has set a standard for himself and to try to overtake it again because that is the drive you have to create as a player, always to be better

That’s football. It’s tough for the one and f**king great for the other, it’s true. The staff and the players work their balls off and we have to go again. You can’t say anything about the investment from the owners either because that has helped as well. Hopefully we keep it going and try to win the next one

2019 08 23 Retrieve

[Liverpool’s goalkeeping coach John Achterberg says Alisson is progressing well in his recovery from an untimely calf injury] Ali is good. He’s in every day for treatment and they try to improve things. He’s able to do some fitness work in the gym without using his leg. It’s difficult, but you have to try to look forward and be positive. You have to try to turn a negative into a positive

[When pressed on a possible return date] They haven’t given us a specific time he’ll be out as it’s difficult to say how quickly it will heal. That’s all with the medics. There’s an international break coming up and we’ll have to wait and see how long it takes after that

At the start, you always think that a goalie needs time to settle a little bit. Playing for Liverpool is very difficult. A lot of people don’t want to give you time. But from day one, Ali was really there for us. He cost us one goal [at Leicester] finding out what was possible and not possible in terms of playing out from the back, but that’s what you expect. Look back in history at how many keepers came to England and were ready straight away. I can tell you Edwin van der Sar wasn’t when he started at Fulham, David de Gea definitely wasn’t at Manchester United because he struggled for more than a year. Fabien Barthez wasn’t either. It’s not easy, but Ali is very strong mentally and adapted really quick. Before, the crowd at Anfield was on edge a lot with the goalies but he changed that around

[So impressive has Alisson been, there is now talk that he could join Reds team-mate Virgil van Dijk in the battle for the 2019 Ballon d’Or] It’s difficult for a goalie to win that. You probably have to be on the scene and regarded as the best for a few years. Manuel Neuer had a period like that and he only got to third place. That’s what Ali has to strive for too. In my opinion he’s definitely been the best goalie out there over the past year. It’s about desire and mentality - wanting to be better than all the goalies in training, wanting to be better than the goalie you’re up against at the weekend. You have to set yourself targets. Get to five clean sheets as quickly as possible, then get to 10. What’s the record? If it’s 25, say you want 26. That’s how you keep yourself hungry and sharp in your own mind, on top of what we supply training-wise

2019 09 11 Retrieve

[John Achterberg has indicated that Alisson has made a return to light training] In the last few days he has been out on the pitch to do some catching and footwork, as well as small passing drills. He has made steady progress. It needs time and we cannot look too far ahead, so we take each day as it comes, see how he feels, and then make progress from that. Ali has been working with Dave Rydings [rehabilitation fitness coach] in the gym a lot to improve the strength and try to keep the fitness levels up

2019 10 10 Retrieve

[Goalkeeping coach John Achterberg says Liverpool have not been able to complain much at all about stand-in goalkeeper Adrian] He had to come in from West Ham and he had to settle quickly. Everything he has done so far has been really good, we have not been able to complain much at all. It’s a different style of play, with West Ham he had to kick the ball long 90 per cent of the time, but we ask him to be calm on the ball and play out from the back. To be fair, he has picked it up really quickly. He has adapted fast, even though he had a lot of experience playing in the Premier League. It has helped him a lot to settle quickly. He is a calm and confident guy but also a really good guy. He fits in well, I would say. Big credit to him and what he has done. It has been really good, so we cannot complain

[Adrian was not the only shot-stopper drafted in by Liverpool as their ranks were depleted by injury and the departure of Simon Mignolet. Andy Lonergan was also acquired, but the 35-year-old is only working on a short-term deal] Lonergan has come in to do this job because of the injury. He has done a good job and he works really hard every day. That is a good step for us this year. We will have to look at the end of the season to decide what we will do

[Liverpool have high hopes for 20-year-old Irishman Caoimhin Kelleher - who recently made his senior debut in a Carabao Cup clash with MK Dons] I was proud and happy for him because he shows every day in training his speed and reactions. That is why he is in the Irish squad and they thought that he can give the No.1 in Ireland big competition but he needs to play games to show. By making this appearance [against MK Dons] he can make big strides and steps. He reads the game and plays well with his feet for Liverpool. But he shot-stopping and his reactions is massive for any club, I would say. This is where he is good and it is what he showed against MK Dons.

He can keep making the next steps and how far he goes is how he can producing these displays on the field because that is where you are going to be assessed. In my opinion, he can be anything. It depends how he develops. In an ideal world you have three top goalkeepers but maybe at third choice you have an experienced keeper or a young talented boy who can step up. There are two talented boys at the academy but they are still some way off. Vitezslav Jaros and Jakub Ojrzynski, they still have to improve to get to the level of first team

2019 11 15a Retrieve

[q: Firstly, John, this is the second year in a row that Alisson has been the top-ranked goalkeeper in the Goal 50 list. Is there any doubt in your mind that he is the best around right now? ] Well, you don’t want to say it too much in the open, but if you look at it and you follow goalkeepers, he deserves it. Last year, he won everything that was there to win for him, and he was the most consistent goalie around. I don’t think many people would argue that. Now, the chance is there for him to do it again and again and again. That’s something we talk about with him.

You have to find your focus and find a way to reproduce your form over time. It’s about desire, wanting to be the best goalkeeper in training, wanting to be better than the opposition goalkeeper, wanting to be the best you can possibly be. You have to create that mentality, get five clean sheets, get 10, set yourself targets as a person, to be the best in every aspect you can be. When you lose that drive, that’s the moment you will decline

2019 11 15b Retrieve

[q: You’re known here at Melwood as a goalkeeping obsessive who watches games and studies players all over the world. Can you remember when Alisson first came to your attention?] It was a game for Internacional in 2013, and I watched it on the laptop in my office at home. I’m always looking for goalkeepers, everywhere. If someone gets discussed in the press, I want to know, or if there is an under-17 championships or an under-19s tournament, I want to watch. It was [Alexander] Doni, our former goalie at Liverpool, who came to me about Alisson. He said that he had big potential, that he could be really good. He told me this guy could be special

2019 11 15c Retrieve

[q: Did Alisson Becker stand out immediately?] Yes. He was the right size, he was always playing out from the back well. He was calm, he would come for crosses, he made good decisions, read danger well and he made all kinds of saves. That’s not a bad start! To play for Liverpool, we are looking for every aspect to be the best it can be. Playing for Liverpool is different to playing for West Ham, for example. We need a goalie who can do everything; play with his feet, cover the space in behind, come for crosses, deal with one-v-ones, speed, reactions […] Then, you consider what it’s like playing in the Premier League, where everything is twice as quick. You need to think quicker, move quicker, react quicker and make quicker decisions. That’s another challenge and if you look around the world, there are not too many who can be the whole package.

2019 11 15d Retrieve

[q: Is it true you looked to sign Alisson Becker in 2015?] Yes, we were looking for a goalkeeper who could come in and challenge for the No.1 spot. We were looking at Neto from Fiorentina but he chose to go to Juventus that summer, so we needed an alternative. I had been following Alisson in Brazil, so his name came up. The problem we had was the EU passport; he didn’t have one, and he wasn’t an international player, and so there was no chance to do a deal at that time. The next year, he went to Roma, so we were able to follow him even more closely. He played against us in a friendly match in St Louis and he was impressive. That was when I told the manager [Jurgen Klopp] about him.

2019 11 15e Retrieve

[q: Alisson Becker signed for Liverpool eventually in 2018. How quickly was he able to settle in?] Pretty quickly. He arrived into the group when we were at the training camp in Evian, and I think that was a really important week for him and for the team. He showed the boys pretty quickly what he was about. The boys all liked what they saw straight away, on and off the field. I remember he sang for the boys in Brazilian with his guitar, and he was pretty good! He fits in well. Everyone likes him, he is able to get on with the boys and that is important. You want all your players to feel part of it, and Alisson is very much a part of it. He’s an important guy in the dressing room, for sure

2019 11 15f Retrieve

[q: What’s Alisson Becker like to coach?] He wants to work hard, first and foremost. We talk a lot. As a coach, you are there to help and express your ideas, but you are part of a team and you have to listen to what the player wants as well. He is the one who has to play, so I ask him ‘What do you want?’ He needs to feel good, comfortable. He is a football fan. His brother, Muriel, is a goalie as well, so it runs in the family. But he knows when to switch off, which can be just as important

2019 11 15g Retrieve

[q: Jurgen Klopp says Alisson Becker’s best quality is that he makes difficult things looks easy] That comes from his temperament. You have to be calm under pressure, to be able to think clearly and quickly and make good decisions. Ali has that. He makes things easy because he is calm, he doesn’t panic. His game-reading is really good, and so he knows where he needs to be. For me, his temperament is one of his biggest strengths

2019 11 15h Retrieve

[q: Alisson Becker’s made mistakes, of course] They happen. Against Leicester, against Manchester United last season, he made mistakes but we won the game. They didn’t cost us. You have to be calm in those situations. I don’t need to tell him they were mistakes; he knows. But he also knows that all goalies in the world make mistakes at some time. [Manuel] Neuer makes them, [Jan] Oblak makes them, they all do. It’s about how you react to them which matters. Like I say, Ali has a very good temperament and he is able to deal with these kinds of things well.

2019 11 15i Retrieve

[q: Alisson Becker put in some big performances last season but it seemed like the biggest games brought out the best in him?] Well, you say that but, really, the biggest games get the most attention. The thing with Ali is he does everything the same whether it’s Barcelona or Huddersfield. He prepares the same, his focus is the same, his mindset is the same. He is consistent and that’s what makes you a top goalie. As a club, we had done our homework on him. We had spoken to people, we had watched games, we had all the data. We knew what kind of personality he was, and we were confident that he could make the transition to our team, our way of playing, training, to English football

2019 11 15j Retrieve

[q: Alisson Becker certainly did that! So, now he’s proven himself as the world’s best, what’s next?] It’s difficult to say, but what I can say is that he came to us at a really high level, and he has continued that. It’s as I say, keeping that intensity, drive and focus as high as possible. That’s the challenge for him. And if he plays like he did last year in the coming years, well, everyone will be happy, no?

2020 03 26 Retrieve

[Liverpool coach reveals what makes Alisson one of the world’s best] He is a goalie who has no fear - if he does something, he sticks to his decision. In his mind, he knows what to do and he doesn’t hesitate. That is natural goalkeeping, having no fear, reading the game and deciding.

If Ali receives the ball, he is always looking to counter and restart the game quickly, in keeping with our way of playing. Mo [Salah] and Ali have had eye contact, they’re looking at each other, and Ali knows he has made the move and then has the quality to put the ball out into his path. When Ali cuts a corner or cross out, the first thing he is looking at is if there is the possibility of a quick restart with a throw or a side-volley. One of his big strengths is to stay calm in the high-pressure moments and making what look like natural, easy decisions, but they’re not easy because you always need perfect solutions and decisions. It’s a quality he has. Some reactions of a goalkeeper are instinctive, of course. It can be a split-second decision, but the main thing is your mind always has to be in an attacking mode, never take it off deciding whether you can reach the ball before anyone else, for example. If it’s a 50/50 or a 60/40, am I fast enough to get there to win it? That’s a mindset, but also a quality he has too, because he has the speed and reacts for it. It is a combination of everything in this moment

2020 04 18 Retrieve

[Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson back in training after recovering from hip injury] [Alisson] sent videos, doing some jumping and exercises. Obviously, we were working with him until the lockdown and he was basically fit. Now it’s for him to maintain it in the house, like the other goalkeepers. They all get their programmes from the fitness department so they will do the job and the work to try to stay as fit as they can, like all the other players as well